Biographies U - V
Following are some biographies of families who at one time or
another lived in Henry Co. llinois. In some cases it is the parents, spouse or child who was a Henry Co. resident
so please read carefully!
NO "U" SURNAMES AT THIS TIME
FLETCHER VAN AUKEN
Fletcher Van Auken, residing on section 28, Galva Township, was born July 11,
1842, in Monroe Co., N.Y. The ancestors of the Van Auken family, of which the subject of this sketch is a
member, came from Holland and settled in Duchess Co., N.Y., about 1836. They were members of a colony that
were sent there by the Holland government, and a portion of their posterity still reside there. Their
descendants took an active part in the Revolution of the Colonies from the unjust government of the old
The record shows that the grandfather, Aaron Van Auken, was a Revolutionary
soldier, and after the war was, engaged in the occupation of a farmer in New York. He was married in that
State, and died near Albany, as likewise did his wife, aged 102 years. They were the parents of three
children, of whom Aaron, Jr., was the only son. He was born in 1800, in Albany Co., N.Y., and is yet still
living, in Knox County, this State, where he came in 1858. He was for a time Superintendent of a section of
the Erie Canal, and held the office of Justice of the Peace, and likewise participated in the War of 1812, being in
the engagement at Sackett's Harbor. He married Catherine Ostrander, a native of Lowell, who is still living,
at the venerable of 82 years. She bore him six children, - Calvin, Anna, Wesley, Martha, William Harrison and
Fletcher, the subject of our notice, was reared in Rochester, N.Y., where he
received his early education. At the age of 17 years, he came to Knox County, this State, in 1858, with his
parents, and has continually been engaged in the occupation of a farmer ever since that time. He first
purchased land in McLean County, which he farmed for two years, then sold it and bought in Woodford County, lived
in the latter county four years, sold his land and then came to Galva Township, this county. On arriving
here, he purchased 123 acres of the old Bonham homestead, the oldest settler in Galva Township, which is located on
section 28, where he is at present residing. Previous to this he had lived from 1866 to 1876, one mile
southwest of Galva, on a farm owned by his father.
Mr. Van Auken was married in Knox County, Oct. 18, 1863, to Margaret A., daughter
of Joseph Armstrong, a native of Durham Co., England. She has borne him three children, viz.: Frank, Unnie and
Ermina. The latter died aged years. Mrs. Van Auken is a member of the Christian Church.
Politically, Mr. V. is a sympathizer with the principles of the Democratic party, and, socially he is a member of
the A.F.&A.M. belonging to Galva Lodge, No. 243.
Source: "Portrait and Biographical
Album of Henry County, Illinois," dated, 1885.
Submitted by: Susan Fahnstrom
NOTE: Catherine Van Auken was actually born in New York, not in Lowell, Illinois,
as it states.
This is my husband's family on his grandmother's side they all lived in Henry County,
some of them were born there. The Fahnstrom's are my husband's grandfather's side of the family.
JOHN W. VADER
John W. Vader, son of Daniel Vader, was born in Henry County, Illinois, in 1859,
where he lived till about nine years of age. His father then removed with his family to Greene County,
locating in Kendrick Township in 1868. One year later the family removed to Scranton, where the father died
November 13, 1872. The mother died December 14, 1886, at Scranton. John W., the subject of this sketch,
grew to manhood in Scranton, and was united in marriage in Jackson Township, Greene County, on January 15, 1880, to
Miss Cynthia A. Clopton, who was born in Greene County in 1855, a daughter of Isaac Clopton, of Jackson
Township. To Mr. and Mrs. Vader have been born two children -- Leo C. and Clara B. Mr. Vader followed
agricultural pursuits till 1876, when he entered the postoffice at Scranton as clerk under H.C. Smith,
postmaster. In June, 1880, his wife was appointed postmistress, as he had not then attained his
majority. He soon after, however, assumed the duties of postmaster, holding that position until February,
1886, when the present incumbent was appointed. At the general election in November, 1886, he was elected
county recorder to succeed Thomas Bigger, and received a majority of 341 votes over Ed. Caughlin the Democratic
candidate. In politics Mr. Vader is a staunch Republican.
Source: Biographical and Historical
Record of Greene and Carroll Counties, Iowa, Lewis Publishing
Company, Chicago 1887 (Greene County)
VALENTINE, E. J.-Of the firm of Valentine & Sherwood, merchants,
Mitchellville. Was born August 5, 1841, in Warren county, Pennsylvania, and at the age of thirteen years his
parents came to Henry county, Illinois, where his youth was spent on a farm.
In 1865 be came to Iowa and located in the old town of Mitchellville, where he
opened a general stock of dry goods and groceries. At the building of the railroad and the locating of the present
town he put up the first store building and the first dwelling house, and sold the first goods in the town. Was
postmaster of the old and new town until 1872, when he sold out his store and bought a farm, where he remained
three years. He then came back to the city and built a brick building, and in 1875 formed a partnership with Henry
Russell in the restaurant business, following the same until the same fall, when he bought Russell's interest and
sold out to Mrs. Sternburg. He then bought the stock of goods of Mr. Hatcher and run a grocery store until the
winter following, when he added boots and shoes. In September, 1878, he formed a partnership with Mr. John O.
Sherwood. They put in an extensive stock which they continue to carry. They sell nearly half the goods that are
sold in the town, as the books of the freight house will show.
January 1, 1867, he married Miss Mary Z. De Long, native of Pennsylvania. They
have four children: William, Minnie E., Edmund T. F. and Johnny O., all living. He has held several township
offices and has been justice of the peace.
Source: History of Polk County,
Iowa", Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co. 1880 p
940-941 Clay Twp